Recently, the city cut down dozens of healthy-looking ash trees in the neighborhood just west of Kennedy High School. A crew member told us this was because emerald ash borer beetles are coming and to give new young trees a head start when the invasion hits and ash trees will have to come down.
This is like saying we have a lot of healthy old people here in Cedar Rapids, some of whom will be dying in the next few years, so let’s go street by street and kill off some now so funeral homes won’t be swamped later. We don’t know when or even if any particular person will get sick in the near future, but let’s be pre-emptive and get an early start on the disposal problem.
So now, we probably have another horrendously hot summer ahead with much less shade in that area, more solar radiation to avoid, more drying of already-dry soil, less oxygen produced for humans and animal life, loss of habitat for birds and other small creatures, less windbreak for storms, and decades before good-sized trees will stand there again.
Surely we should take every other avenue first, such as studying intelligent ways trees can be sprayed to repel or at least inhibit beetles, before taking the drastic, irreversible step to destroy a big healthy tree.
John W. Arbore
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